Lucifer S01E10 “Pops” REVIEW

Lucifer S01E10 “Pops” REVIEW

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stars 3.5

Airing in the UK on Amazon Prime Instant Video, new episodes every Tuesday
Writers: Alex Katsnelson, Mike Costa
Director: Tara Nicole Weyr

 

Essential Plot Points:

  • Lucifer is fed up with people using, “Oh God!” as an exclamation of pleasure.
  • Maze goes to see Dr Linda who tells her she needs to make friends.
  • A chef famous for his Mexican cuisine (Lucifer loves it) is poisoned. His blood is found to contain both mercury and heroin.
  • Chloe and Lucifer interview his staff who all claim he had a furious temper but that he was like a father to them.
  • The chef’s wayward son, Junior, has also just returned home. Lucifer immediately suspects him but Chloe warns Lucifer not to let his own parental issues influence the case…
  • …At which moment her overbearing actress mum, Penelope, shows up. Immediately she and Lucifer start flirting. They’re pretty much made for each other as both of them think everything is about them.
  • Penelope pretty much demands a “family meal” that night, and invites Lucifer. Chloe calls in Dan for support.
  • Penelope dresses up Trixie like an oven-ready princess to help her with an audition. Chloe is horrified that her mum is using Trixie the same way she used her as a child – like a fashion accessory to stardom.

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  • During the ensuing argument Trixie runs off and goes to LUX to see Lucifer. He’s not there, but she does charm Maze.
  • As the investigation progresses Lucifer becomes convinced that Junior is innocent, seeing a parallel between the guy’s daddy issues and his own. Junior also claims to be free from drug addiction now.
  • So Lucifer invites Junior to cook dinner for the Decker family reunion. It doesn’t end well. No one wants to eat in case Junior is the poisoner; Lucifer tells Penelope that her daughter thinks she acts like a child; Dan learns that Chloe has turned down sex with Lucifer; Lucifer is annoyed to learn that Junior actually respects his dad.
  • The murderer turns out to be the sous chef who was supposed to have inherited the restaurant but discovered that the chef was about to change his mind and bring Junior back into the fold. She had intended to kill Junior not the chef but her boss ate the food intended for Junior.
  • When Lucifer and Chloe challenge her, she sets fire to the restaurant and runs for it but, we’re told, is captured off-screen.
  • Lucifer saves Chloe from the fire, carrying her in his arms. It’s almost romantic. It is cheesy.

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  • Dan tries to arrest Malcolm but Malcolm knocks him unconscious.
  • Dan’s phone gets a text message – it’s Chloe asking if they can try again. Malcolm replies…
  • Presumably he says, “F**k off – smiley face” or something like that because a little later a pissed Chloe turns up at Lucifer’s apartment well up for it.
  • Amazingly, Lucifer finds that’s he’s not well up for it at all. Has he grown a conscience? “Oh God…!”

 

Review:

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This show may have “educating Lucifer” as its ongoing theme but Lucifer clearly hasn’t learnt much about humility so far. In “Pop” his “me, me, me” outlook on existence is as intact as ever, as once again he wilfully ignores the “moral of the week” about finding it your heart to reunite with family you’ve had a falling out with. You have to love the way the show cheerily inverts that hoary old trope of US TV week in week week out; even if Lucifer is “learning” he’s not admitting it, even to himself. This week he’s positively crestfallen that Junior’s relationship with his dad isn’t what he wanted it to be: “Junior’s answer was spectacularly unhelpful. He didn’t escape his father because he turned into him. I mean, that doesn’t apply to me at all!” He’s not after enlightenment; he’s after justification, and like an ADHD child he loses interest in something as soon as it doesn’t appear to have any bearing on him.

Which is, of course, exactly what makes this show fun.

The difference this week is that he’s not alone. Chloe’s mum, Penelope, joins the mix and she’s nearly as egocentric as the devil himself. No wonder they’re flirting within seconds. Actually, any woman and Lucifer aside from Chloe seem to be flirting within seconds but there does seem to be mutual attraction here based on a shared philosophy. It does make you wonder if part of Chloe’s love/hate relationship with Lucifer stems from the fact he reminds her of her mum.

Thankfully, Penelope is played fairly straight; a broad performance could have made her a monster but there’s still charisma in De Rebecca De Mornay’s approach to the role (which she honed on Jessica Jones – see below). In fact, she feels like a piece of the Lucifer puzzle that we didn’t know was missing finally sliding into place. Hopefully she’ll be back.

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The crime plot is bobbins as ever, though in Junior at least they had a guest character with more of a personality than usual. The details of the murder investigation may have been creaky as hell, but it did provide some entertaining scenes along the way including the interview montage (complete with bizarre missing finger moment) and the most uncomfortable family meal ever. That was a stroke of genius, combining the crime-of-the-week with the personal-plot-of-the-week is a hugely entertaining piece of car crash telly. This was a reaction shot hot spot, to be sure.

All this, plus Trixie getting served the hard stuff by Maze, Maze getting all fuzzy with Dr Linda and Dan trying to do the right thing and ending up comatose. “Pop” may not have had the jawdropping arc plot fireworks of the past couple of episodes but it was solid, well-crafted and very funny in places.

 

The Good:

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  • Lots and lots and lots of great dialogue this week. Once again Maze wins line of the week for: “Which one wants you to look like an old drag queen?” when Trixie turns up at the bar.

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  • In fact the whole Maze subplot was very amusing and sweet. It’s refreshing to see her not permanently grumpy or only happy because she’s hurting someone. Dr Linda’s aghast response to, “Do I need to sleep with you too?” is a moment to cherish too.
  • Not that Lucifer was shirking on the pithy one-liners front:
    • “Look at you two, like Cagney and Lacey.”
    • “Heroin inspector – I’m afraid your spoons aren’t up to standard.”
    • “Well, isn’t that a coincidence? Boy returns home and conveniently his pops drops the next day. Lucky bastard.”
  • The way Trixie has been portrayed as preternaturally intelligent-before-her-years in the past has smacked a little bit of trying too hard to make her cute. So initially when she turned up at the Lux there you couldn’t help worry that this was going to get very twee. Instead it’s a great scene; it’s still pure TV (you can never imagine this happening in real life) but there’s real charm in the way Maze and Trixie hit it off.

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  • Plus, a little bit later, we loved the moment when Trixie ran excitedly at Lucifer and he was all, “Woah! Get back!” Good to see he’s consistent.

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  • For some reason the sight of Lucifer wearing a cheap T-shirt is disproportionately amusing.

 

The Bad:

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  • The whole burning restaurant sequence fell a bit flat. It didn’t look particularly convincing, it seemed over-melodramatic for the emotional weight the scene needed to carry and it wasn’t clear why Lucifer had to rescue Chloe in the way he did – it looked like if they’d reacted a bit quicker they could have both made it to the door in a quick sprint. Something got lost in translation we think.
  • Good grief the crime plot was a convoluted load of old toot. Did no one wonder immediately why someone would lace a meal with both heroin and mercury? And wouldn’t a top chef notice that his meal tasted a bit odd if it had enough mercury and heroin in it to kill him. How come it took Chloe and Lucifer half an episode to pick up on the phrase “one last meal” (even if it was a red herring)?
  • It was also very convenient that Junior had returned from his travels both clean of drugs and a vegetarian. We’ve said before that complaining about the procedural elements in Lucifer is a pointless pursuit but this one wasn’t ludicrous enough to be funny, but too silly to be taken seriously.

 

And The Random:

  • This week’s lean crop of devilish music includes:
    • “Devil Inside” by INXS – opening scene where Lucifer comes over all Alec d’Urberville with a strawberry.
    • “Sky Is Falling” by Bret Levick – while Lucifer and Chloe are interviewing Chef Javier’s staff.
    “Thought You Should Know” by Sip Sip Bubbleheads – Trixie goes to the LUX.
    • “Calling Me” by STACEY – Maze asks Dr Linda if she wants to be her friend; Chloe’s mum tries to make up.
  • With Lucifer being so quintessentially English and also someone who’ll never pass up the opportunity for a rubbish joke, we can’t believe he never made a crack along the lines of, “pops his clogs”.
  • Here’s a new regular feature based on the fact that Tom Ellis’s performance seems to be based on Leslie Phillips in a Carry On film – this week’s lines that Lucifer makes sound like innuendos:
    • “Cracked open a few thermometers over brunch, did you?”
    • “I’ll never taste his perfect tamales again.”
  • Possibly the most subtly subversive moment of the show so far is having a main character who hints he’s procured some of the heroin the police have taken for his own use.

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  • Rebecca De Mornay, who plays Penelope, is famous for films like Risky Business (1983), The Hand That Rocks The Cradle (1992) and Wedding Crashers (2005) but also recently played a stunning similar role to Penelope in Jessica Jones (2015). In the Marvel/Netflix show she was Trish Walker’s mum Dorothy, a pushy talent agent who tried to force her daughter into stardom at a young age. Coincidence or a deliberate casting in-joke?

 

Review by Dave Golder


Read our other Lucifer reviews

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Christofloridian says:

    RE: Heroin and mercury.

    The plan was not to make the son OD, but to make it look like he got a bad batch of heroin that killed him via mercury poison. The chef used the heroin to make it point to the son, and the mercury to make it lethal. Lucifer jokes about cracking open a few thermometers but, given that the stash was white powder, Anne the sous chef was probably using mercury salts.

    • Dave Golder says:

      I don’t say anywhere in the review that she was trying to make the son OD. I understand what her plan was and how it went wrong, I’m just pointing out that the reasons it went wrong were a little far fetched.

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